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Lulu_Lunette

First Tank Nano Tank

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Lulu_Lunette
Hello, I'm new to the forums - to get this thread up todate - I started my first reef tank towards the end of last summer, a Fluval Evo 13.5 nano tank.  I chose a nano because it would fit perfectly on my bar in my basement and thought that being small it would be more affordable for getting my sleeves wet into the hobby.  After doing some research the only answers I was coming up with that nano tanks were hard.  Oh great, what did I get myself into?
 
Initial equipment:
  • Fluval Evo 13.5 tank (with stock return pump and light)
  • PS2 Mini Protein Skimmer
  • Fluval M50 Heater
 
For the initial setup i decided to use cured live rock and live sand.  I was very lucky to have an awesome fish store not to far from my house.  After discussing what I wanted to do, size of my tank and being I am a beginner we decided that the best way to not set myself up for failure to not only use their live rock and sand but also use water direct from their display tank.  Essentially do a tank transfer.  I arranged the rocks into an arch, I wanted to give the future inhabitants something to swim around.  I also added a clean up crew with the inital setup.
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07.30.17 - Inital Setup
 
The first two weeks after setup the tank did go through a mini cycle.  Having survived the hurdle and managing to not kill my clean up crew I decided to add the tanks first fish and coral inhabitants. For fish I selected two Clarkii clownfish and for coral I selected green star polyp, a hairy mushroom and clove polyp. By this time, the starfish seemed to have disappeared and I have not seen any since. A few weeks later I added a Kenya tree, an echinopora and a green nephthea. 
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08.20.17 - First Inhabitants
 
First Issues –

Everything was going great until about two weeks after the last additions were made. I encountered my first issue(s) – high nitrates and cyno algae. I figured I must have been over feeding my clownfish in combination with feeding them inefficiently. I increased the frequency of water changes and began to target feed clownfish. Hoping this would decrease the cyno algae it seem to only get worst, the plan was to wait and not use any chemicals but then the cyno started growing on to my corals. I ended up treating the tank with chemi-clean. I was amazed with how effective it was. I treated the tank in two doses. At this time a wave maker was added to get rid of nitrate pockets.  I also swapped out the original  media filtration that came with the tank fro Chemi-Pure Blue Nano to help with nitrates.
 
After everything settled down I added a rainfordi goby and an orchid dottyback and two corals – pulsing xenia and pocillopora. This is when I decided this was it for fish - my clownfish were jerks to the goby. Luckily he has plenty of hiding spots and he is quick enough to get out of the way. I kept an eye out for him for the next few days but never saw him again.  I have decided against getting an anemone mainly because I read too much about them meeting the wave maker and do not want to deal with the headache. My clownfish are really into the hairy mushroom and have host in it.  I feel this is a good substitution.
 
About a month after adding the goby and the dottyback it was time to add more coral.  I was trying to hold out for a piece of frogspawn but ended up coming out with something I never thought about adding - a torch coral. It wasn't long after adding the torch that my dottyback appeared to have developed lymphocystis.  At first I thought that the torch had stung it but the sores just got bigger.  Within the next two weeks they fell off and he has recovered.  The clownfish never developed it. 
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10.24.17 - Torch Addition
 
My clove polyp became infested with red wiry turf algae. It became tight and destructive when I tried to manually remove it. I ended up doing a hydrogen peroxide drip on it. Let it sit for about 15 mins and was able to gently remove it. This is now the scariest thing I have done to date. It was really mad at me and took about a week to reopen up. It has grown several new heads since then.
GLWO2pd.jpg
12.20.17 -Wire Hair Algae Removal
 
I lost a couple of corals in December - one of the smaller pieces of liverock fell onto the echinopora. I didn't think anything of it until it started to die off in the middle and quickly spread in a matter of a few days :( I had a red acropora but accidentally hit it off my counter with trying to put coral glue on the frag plug *sigh* I tried to save it but ended up just pulling it out.  I ended up adding a peppermint shrimp due to an out break of aiptasia. 
M8c2hh7.jpg
12.20.17 - Pepe
 
Wanting to promote more coral growth I started target feeding my corals - mainly the frogspawn and torch. They are placed further from where I feed the fish and I feel like they weren't getting enough nutrients to grow like the others. The corals that near the where the fish are fed are HUGE. I picked up some nano reef roids and some aquavitro fuel so far I am happy with the results.  My phosphates have gone up so I've added PhosBond to my filtration basket.
 
So far the biggest regret I have is not securing my scape when I initially set it up.  As my corals on top of the arch got bigger, it eventually collapsed.  This last week was spent taking it apart and attempting to secure it.  I tried using an epoxy but failed miserably.  What ended up working the best was just using coral glue.  Everything is secure now, but big lesson learned.  Thankfully I was able to get the scape back pretty close to the original shape.
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01.13.18 - Before 
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01.18.18 - After
 
So far I'm really enjoying this tank and cannot wait to see where it goes.  
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Sareefer101

Wow lovely tank

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Subsea

First post.  Thank you for taking me through an enjoyable narrative.  Welcome to nano nano.

 

And, yes, your tank is gorgeous.

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burtbollinger

looks VERY nice.  money cant buy good taste in corals and layout...congrats.

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Subsea

With respect to the Peppermint Shrimp, did they solve the Aptasia problem?  I got three peppermints and two eat Aptasia.  Within a week or so, I noted the two shrimp getting a darker red/orange not just in gut cavity but all over.  That tank is an experiment on predator prey relations.

 

I also enjoy sitting back to enjoy my minimalistic macro lagoon.   This 120G tank is one month old today.

 

 

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Flexin

Welcome!  Now that you’ve put some time in, what would you do differently if you were starting a tank?

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ReefingRelapse

For a first time reef tank. Pretty impressive!

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MedievalITGuy

That looks way better than my first tank did at a year old! Looking good!

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ninjamyst

Amazing photos and write up!  Will follow along.  Keep the updates coming.  I have the same nano tank and similar rockscape.  Great minds think alike =).

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Clownnem05

It looks good I will definityly be following along. 

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Lula_Mae

Hi Lulu, I'm Lula! :lol: :welcome:to Nano-Reef! Sounds like you've had a good journey so far. The scape looks fabulous! I've never seen Clarkii clowns much, they are beautiful. Keep an eye on the pep that he doesn't decide your corals make good snacks!

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Lulu_Lunette
7 hours ago, Subsea said:

First post.  Thank you for taking me through an enjoyable narrative.  Welcome to nano nano.

 

And, yes, your tank is gorgeous.

Thank you! So far I'm really liking having a nano and having a bigger tank scares me :lol:

 

I think the peppermint shrimp has helped with aptasia - not sure if he has been anywhere else in my tank besides under the xenia, my clownfish keep him there 

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Lulu_Lunette

 

6 hours ago, Flexin said:

Welcome!  Now that you’ve put some time in, what would you do differently if you were starting a tank?

For one the initial setup - definitely secure all the rocks before putting water in.  I don't think I would do the all in one tank.  I struggle with this the most because its a love hate thing.  I love that everything is in one tank, nothing can overflow.  I don't like how tight the chambers are where all the equipment is.  I think my hands are small and I struggle getting them in there to remove things and maintenance.  The other thing I would do differently is have a lid that is more of a screen top and different light.  More so because the lid gets salt creep like crazy on the outside of the tank.  I have to almost chip it away before doing anything else.  With the light being a part of the lid, it can make removing the lid aside for maintenance limited as well. Honestly these are the two things I am contemplating switching out more for making it easier to work on.

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Flexin

Thanks for the response and write up.  Being newer to the hobby (1 year) and now I have two tanks running, I could relate to many things you said above before I started a second tank.  I did without the mechanical skimmer and use purigen which is a chemical one.  Once I saw how larger skimmers really work and how well they work I was not happy with the nano one I had.  This gave me more space by placing the purigen bag in the media basket.

 

Overall I’ve been happy with my bio cube. The salt creep is minimal and I think that’s because there is a fan in the hood. I also thought I had rocks secure until one stand alone rock leaned against a larger rock because my Wrasse move it and then got pinned.  I make a habit of counting all my fish each day and that’s when I started looking for him.  He seemed ok but I could not imagine how long he was pinned from my check the previous day.

 

Once I had a list of what I would do differently I then started planning the next tank with those thoughts in mind.  I also like to hear experiences from others so I can learn.  The best thing in your write up and others are when we also share failures, and not everyone does that so thank you.  The tanks looks great and it sounds like you’re having fun...

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Mozby's Reef

Thanks for sharing your reefing adventures with us! I've yet to start (rock is still curing) so I'm anxious as hell. It was nice to read your experiences so far. Hope to see more updates.

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StephDaReefer

This looks like an awesome reef you got going. I still have only fish and can’t wait to start adding coral. Any tips before I start putting some soft corals??? 

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Mad28gnc@

Looks  like it's coming along quite well.

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Lulu_Lunette
On 1/26/2018 at 1:11 AM, StephDaReefer said:

This looks like an awesome reef you got going. I still have only fish and can’t wait to start adding coral. Any tips before I start putting some soft corals??? 

Ask lots of questions and research before adding something.  Mostly for size and placement.  I kinda had a plan of what I wanted to go where for certain corals but sometimes you see something you have to add, which is also part of the fun.  If you decide to go with GSP or xenia make sure they are on an "island" they grow fast.  They are both super hardy.  

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Lulu_Lunette
It’s been a little over two weeks since securing the rock work.  So far everything appears to be hanging on and getting bigger.  I really wanted to add more inhabitants to my tank.  I am finding it rather difficult because my clownfish are such… jerks.  I honestly was/am considering adding a six line wrasse to the tank bit with no quarantine tank am able to talk myself out of it.  Still having the itch, I decided on adding some different invertebrates – sexy shrimp.
 
A5RElTP.jpg?2
The only photo of my sexy shrimp
 
I cannot believe how small these guys are.  But their butt bobbing makes a great new form of movement for my tank.  I ended up with three in total and was assured that the clownfish wouldn’t think anything of them.  After acclimating them and getting them in, I watched them walk around exploring when out of the corner of my eye a clownfish made one of them a snack, an expensive snack… jerk.  I don’t think the other two lasted the night.  Discouraged after the sexy massacre I have come to the conclusion that only replacement cleanup crew and corals can be added to the tank.
 
About a month ago I decided to try my hand at keeping zoanthids.  I had been putting off getting any of these since the initial setup, mainly because I kept hearing that they were toxic, but after hearing they are only toxic when fragging decided to give them a go.  Before restructuring the rock they seem to be doing great.  However the last few days they have not been opening up, this causes me to worry.  I checked my parameters and salinity and temp were both a little high – I got these back in line and waited.  Within the next few hours they began to open up.  I posted a photo of them on my Instagram story and someone noted there was detritus that needed to be removed.  I removed it but they still were not opening.  The last two weeks my kenya tree has grown a lot, so much that I believe that is was shadowing the zoas.  Tonight I cut it back to allow more light to reach them, and hopefully they will make a full recovery within the next week or two.
 
PohK8XX.jpg?1 Before
 
Lrtq2hV.jpg?1 Not looking so great
 
doxEiVL.jpg?1 After
 
Here is the latest full tank photo and some macro shots of critters… enjoy!
 
 lVX9yZJ.jpg
02.01.18
 
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Blue legged hermit
 
qMQleQC.jpg
Asterina starfish
 
loFwfT2.jpg
Clownfish’s new digs
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ThisPlaceIsAPrison

Great tank, following along on Instagram.  What camera are you using for the Macro shots?

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Lulu_Lunette
On 2/15/2018 at 8:53 AM, ThisPlaceIsAPrison said:

Great tank, following along on Instagram.  What camera are you using for the Macro shots?

I use a Canon Rebel t2i with a Canon 100mm macro lens

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Clownnem05

The tank looks amazing and it is you first tank! Mine looks plain next to yours. I really love the clowns, how do you like them. I may do a pair in my tank if my clowns don't pull through the bacterial infection they have.

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Lulu_Lunette

Wow - it’s been awhile since I have updated this thread, time for a long overdue update.

First off, the original pair of clownfish that I had one developed a severe case of popeye.  His eyes eventually went back to being normal but I fear his vision never returned to normal and he ended up passing away a few months later.  The remaining clownfish was so aggressive that I did not dare add another fish to the tank.

 

I made the difficult decision of rehoming my remaining clownfish for a new pair.  This time was I choose a pair of snowflake clowns. I love the patterns on these guys.

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Full tank with new clowns

 

Eventually one of the clowns turned into a black snowflake clown - making them a unique awesome looking pair

sTBVcOf.jpg

 

I ended up picking up a falco hawkfish from a local reefer.  The original intent on adding him to this system was he would eventually be moving to the new build I was working on.  That still is the plan but I have had some hiccups that is delaying that process. For now, he will remain here king of the castle.

9CN5nHp.jpg

 

One of the weirdest things that has happened was I was in the process of cleaning out the sump area of this tank and out came one of the sexy shrimp that I had added and thought had died five plus months prior.  I ended up moving it to the lagoon right away to save it from being a snack for the hawfish. The GSP in this tank also started to climb the side wall of the tank making a really cool feature of the tank.

bERHnnH.jpg

 

I continued to collect new coral pieces and house them in the Evo while the lagoon was being setup.  It became packed quick but looked so amazing. I made myself a frage rack with some egg crate and suction cups to house all the zoa frags I was collecting for the lagoon.  I was able to manage all the coral needs with regular weekly water changes and dosing Tropic Marin’s All-For-Reef.

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Sadly for reasons unknown the black snowflake clownfish passed away.  I then decided to just have a solo clown for awhile. The lagoon was now up and running and I slowly started to move frags over to the new system.  I did end up moving the remaining clown to the lagoon.

 

This is the current state of the Fluval Evo -

luncdYm.jpg

 

The Evo has turned into a softie tank.  I tried taking out the Kenya trees that were put in there a while ago.  It seemed to have worked until one day they came back with a vengeance. The fair dust polyps that I have added along with the GSP have almost completely overtaken the arch.  For awhile I had a bad hair algae problem and was slacking on my water changes. The rock I had with xenia on it has almost no xenia on it anymore. I think with Kenya trees, GSP and the polyps running rampid in this tank the xenia can’t keep up.

 

To combat the algae problem, I ended up picking up a tuxedo urchin and cutting the light schedule wayback.  I also manually removed a lot of it from the sand bed. This took care of most of it but the stuff on my frags wasn’t going down without a fight. I ended up doing a hydrogen peroxide dip on them and now they are squeaky clean.

 

A63ZUMp.jpg how bad the hair algae is

VH0C1nj.jpg frage after a hydrogen peroxide dip

 

For the past few months between the two tanks I have been faced with a lot of issues that I wasn’t sure how to handle and to be honest - I almost threw in the towel.  But I just stuck with it and just focused more on maintaining and getting both tanks back on track. I’m honestly not sure what the plan is for this tank. I have been debating pretty seriously on tearing it all down and starting over.  Mostly because the corals that I have in it are so invasive. I have also been thinking of making the first upgrade to it - upgrading the light and making it a clown nem tank. I This past week I ended adding a new pair of clowns to the Evo - two snowstorms

 

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dferrari13

Issues happen....stick with it!!!....imo quiting isnt an option once you've caught the reef bug!

Nice clowns!!

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